A painter from the big city goes to a remote canyon to commit suicide. To reach some calmness, he stays at the farmstead of Ascen, an old, religious woman. Although but a few words are spoken, love grows.
A couple Esther and Juan lives in the Mexican countryside raising fighting bulls. She is in charge of running the ranch, while her husband, a world-renowned poet, raises and selects the ... See full summary »
Johan (Cornelio Wall Fehr), a Mennonite living in Mexico, is tormented with guilt over his extramarital affair with Marianne (Maria Pankratz). His father (Peter Wall), best friend (Jacobo Klassen) and wife (Miriam Toews) know the truth, but Johan's suffering has to do with his faith, which he can't reconcile with his deeds.Written by
Slow and slightly bewildering, but visually superb.
The six-minute opening shot of Silent Light depicts the starry night sky giving way, slowly but relentlessly, to the nascent light of the early morning sun. This shot could in itself serve as a captivating short film but in its particular context it serves most obviously to set the overall pace for this film by the Mexican director Carlos Reygadas: slow.
The cast of Silent Light consists primarily of non-actors drawn from the Menonite religious community in which the film is set. Their fine performances create a believable and frequently captivating world for the viewer. We are given insights into the day-to-day lives of the family as the story slowly develops in stages, grimly charting the inexorable demise of the relationship between husband Johan and wife Esther.
Around the stark central narrative there are some charming scenes and some superb camera work. Even the scenes where the children playing in the pond are all-too-aware of the presence of the camera carry a certain fascination. Having said that there are too many shots where the camera lingers to seemingly little effect, except to make the viewer feel distinctly uncomfortable (as one other reviewer has pointed out, there is something rather unnerving about the kissing scene involving Johan and Marianne).
I also feel compelled to add that there is a rather bizarre twist at the end of what would otherwise be a straightforward and powerful story. For me this threw into some confusion the preceding two hours of film and left the story hanging on an oddly unsatisfactory note. Despite the slow pacing and somewhat bewildering ending this is a strong, distinctive piece of film-making and I would recommend that it be viewed in a cinema rather than on the small screen so as to get the best of some superb camera-work.
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